Friday Happy Hour: Watermelon Mojito

It’s summer – which means outdoor picnics, BBQs, and of course lots and lots of watermelon (easily one of our favorite summer fruits) and lots of mint.  So if you’re in the mood for something classic to beat the heat, try a twist on one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drinks, a Watermelon Mojito.  Fresh, cold, sweet, citrusy, minty and delicious, the Mojito is the perfect drink for a sweltering summer evening. – Andrew

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Read below for the full recipe!

Watermelon Mojito

2 oz Light Rum
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Lime Juice
Sparkling Water
Watermelon Juice to Taste
Handful of Mint Leaves

First: if you have any pre-made Mojito mix in your house, that overly sweet artificial stuff, throw it out.  Do it now!  Did you do it?  Ok, good.  Now, in a highball glass, very gently muddle the mint and syrup.  Add the lime juice.  (Some recipes tell you to muddle the lime in the glass and leave the lime shell; freshly squeezed juice definitely is best, but there’s already so much going on in this drink that I recommend discarding the lime shell.)  Fill the glass with lots of crushed ice, then add the rum.  For a classic Mojito, skip the next step, but for a Watermelon Mojito, add some freshly muddled or squeezed watermelon juice.  Top with sparkling water, garnish with a mint sprig, sugar cane or even a cube of watermelon, and enjoy.

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The Mojito is a Cuban highball, another one of those drinks that evolved organically out of the country’s citrus and sugar cultivation, like the Daiquiri.  The closest you’ll get to the original flavor of a Cuban Mojito is probably using Bacardi light rum; before the Cuban Revolution drove Bacardi to Puerto Rico, Bacardi was one of Cuba’s biggest distillers.  A classic Mojito is rum, sugar, mint, and lime, but the Mojito is a lot like another drink, the Caipirinha, in that you can play around with the original recipe to create all kinds of variants, using whatever fruit you like.

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No one really knows the origins of the Mojito.  A romantic story has it descending from a very old drink, the Draque, a drink supposedly invented by Sir Francis Drake in the 1500s with aguardiente (a really primitive version of rum), sugar, mint, and lime (the last three included mostly to hide the taste fo the aguardiente).  It’s possible, but it’s more likely that Cubans figured out for themselves over the years that they could combine all the lime, sugar, and rum they were producing into some really tasty drinks.  Does it matter?  Not really – the Mojito is too delicious.

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P.S.  If you make one of these, you can see how much work goes into one of these.  Make sure to tip your bartender well the next time you order one, and make sure the bar isn’t very crowded when you do order one, or else you might not get the best Mojito…

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

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